farming, ofunato, sumita, temporary housing, volunteer

day off, day trip to kamaishi and tono

today I got taken on an excursion by 2 rice farmers. to back up, all hands volunteers had helped with the rice harvest of their cooperative, and this day was a kind of thanks for that, and chance to hang out with them again. except that most people who had actually helped with their project have already left or had other plans today, and so it was just me and another girl who had been a leader for the rice harvest, they didn’t seem to mind that I hadn’t been there; they enjoyed retelling the stories and talking about who all the volunteers were. they mentioned over and over how much fun this years’ harvest had been because of the help from the young volunteers (usually the work is done by old men only) and also how much faster.
I was reminded of the 1st time I volunteered in Tohoku, and was told ‘people here are hesitant to talk, but the old men especially are weak against girls’ so that we could perhaps get them to open up. like the oyster fishermen I met that first week in May, the farmers today seemed to enjoy our company–although actually they never stopped talking, so perhaps not so shy as fishermen.
but I was reminded once again about why we are here–and perhaps the encouragement that comes from working alongside them is much more important to the local people than the actual ‘work’ that is accomplished.
we drove through kamaishi, and visited the giant kannon statute overlooking the bay-kannon is there to protect fishermen.
kamaishi port area is quite cleaned up compared to how it looked in april. we didn’t go into the center of town though.
then we visited the traditional thatched roof house museum in tono.
on the way back, we passed through sumida cho, where there are wooden temporary houses. our friends said the wooden houses were good because they are moveable, and that people will have the change to buy them for 200,000 after 2 years.

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About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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